Little Tragedies - Magic Shop

(CD 2009, 63:18, Private Release)

The tracks:
  1- Overture(5:12)
  2- Christmas Eve(1:54)
  3- Little Gnomes(4:01)
  4- Pathway to the Magic Shop(1:48)
  5- Opening Fanfare(0:45)
  6- Shepherd Boys(3:03)
  7- Malvina & Piero(1:51)
  8- The Sheriff(3:06)
  9- Little Cooks(3:19)
10- Tango(3:31)
11- Matryoshka Dolls(2:38)
12- The Minstrel(4:25)
13- Moraziana(3:39)
14- The Star Gazer(3:56)
15- The Wizard(5:24)
16- Closing Fanfare(0:40)
17- Finale(4:26)
18- The Organ Grinder(4:28)
19- Epilogue(3:49)

Little Tragedies Website        samples       

Composer and keyboardist Gennady Ilyin founded the Russian formation Little Tragedies in the late eighties. Twenty years have passed since then and he still is the nucleus of the band. My first musical encounter with Little Tragedies was just after the release of Return, their fourth studio album. From that moment on, their bombastic sound and awesome interplay impressed me a lot. For me, the Russian vocals add an extra dimension to the music. On Magic Shop, their eleventh studio album, I miss those native vocals. Itís a concept album containing a Christmas fairy tale. In the information booklet, you can read the entire story.

Magic Shop contains twenty tracks sounding melodic and varied with again impressive interplay, especially between the powerful and hard-edged guitar and the flashy keyboard runs. I think this approach is Little Tragediesí trademark, along with the classical influences. Itís evident; Gennady Ilyin has had a classical education. He perfectly translates the cheerful lyrics of the songs into corresponding atmospheres, especially in Shepherd Boys. Halfway the atmosphere changes into heavy and dazzling work on guitar, keyboards and drums. Malvina & Piero contains saxophone and xylophone play, The Sheriff is a piece in the vein of Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson with a surprising bluesy ending and Matryoshka delivers pleasant interplay between guitar and saxophone. We can enjoy Little Tragediesí usual ultimate bombastic sound in Overture with amazing interplay and virtuosic solos. Little Cooks has a wonderful build-up and delicate organ work, while Tango delivers flashy synthesizer flights and swinging piano. Moraziana is a mid-tempo track with a rock guitar, virtuosic keyboard runs and a protrusive rhythm-section. Iím also very pleased with the beautiful, mellow compositions Pathway To The Magic Shop, a warm combination of classical guitar and dreamy keyboards. The Minstrel has fine harpsichord play and sensitive electric guitar and the final track Epilogue is dreamy and has again sensitive electric guitar runs. Along with Return (2005) and the double album Faust (2006), this album belongs to Little Tragediesí best work. After twenty years, this Russian formation still sounds inspired and creative!

**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Peter Willemsen)

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